The Shiloah Faces Its Day In Court

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After numerous court appearances and rulings against the illegal Arab squatters, the lawyers representing the squatters are now trying to claim – “statute of limitations” in order to try and keep Arab squatters from being evicted from old Jewish Yemenite properties.The Supreme court of Israel heard arguments on both sides and seemed to challenge the Arab lawyer on many of his arguments.

The judges were well aware of the Yemenite claims and the history of the Shiloach Village from 1882  and also knew that the Yemenite and Sefardi Jews were driven out by Arabs (Pogroms in 1920-30s) and evicted by British Authorities in August of 1938, who promised that the Jewish refugees could return to their homes. The British never kept their promise.

Before and after the court appearance, many Arab families congregated outside the courts and there was obvious mingling with Haaretz writer Nir Hasson, representatives from Ir Amim (Extreme left wing NGO) and of course many news outlets from the Arab world.There were even a group of European dignitaries who were only interested in one side and were guided by left wing Ir Amim people. (As one so called “dignitary” mentioned to me)
When i approached one news reporter from Egypt, the female journalist with a map of Israel as silver jewelry around her neck (Palestine) -said that she wasn’t interested in the Jewish or Yemenite side as she  is first and foremost a “Palestinian before I’m a journalist!”

Now it’s a waiting “game” till the 3 Supreme court judges give their ruling. (They will “only” decide whether the Arabs can maybe appeal earlier decisions about their eviction and open up legal discussions about the statute of limitations for such real estate.)

On the cards is not just the eviction of the Duek family from the Yemenite Sanctified Trust, but also tens of other families who are illegal squatters on Yemenite Trust properties. Compensation has also been offered the Arab families by the Trust. (Acting beyond the letter of the law and taking into account that the families have been in these homes for over 50 yrs)It should be noted that the original Beit Knesset complex of the Yemenite Village is back in Jewish hands and as a result of that ruling, other opportunities arose for the Trust to return its properties to the rightfu owners.Today and thanks to the huge efforts of Ateret Cohanim and the Sanctified trust, there are 35 Jewish families in the old Yemenite Village of Shiloach.

If you want to be involved, invest, own an apartment, help restore an old Beit Knesset complex, dedicate a rooftop or scenic outlook, donate for a kids, family or security project, then please be in contact with our Jerusalem offices.

We must always remember that squatting and stealing properties from Jews – even if it happened 70 years ago –  doesn’t make you an owner. The Yemenite Village of Shiloach will not be forgotten  !!

Article by Daniel Luria

Daniel Luria is the Executive Director and International Spokesman for Ateret Cohanim. He is considered a global expert on Jerusalem, with a focus on urban land reclamation initiatives. he is a sought after speaker, guide, and informal educator in relation to his work in Jerusalem.

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